Head off-road: Best motocross and dirtbike helmets

Best Motocross And Dirtbike Helmets
Best Motocross And Dirtbike Helmets

The main difference between road and motocross and dirtbike helmets is the provision of a visor. Most MX helmets are designed to be used with goggles, as these can offer a better view as well as maximising airflow to the rider’s head in what is likely to be a strenuous and demanding riding environment.

They will also have a peak to keep the sun, rain and debris from other riders away from the goggles and the chin bar will be extended, again to maximise airflow for cooling and for breathing by the rider.

Ideally you should be looking for helmets approved to the latest ECE approval, as this will certainly be necessary for use on the road. However, even if using off-road, then it establishes that the helmet meets that safety standard.

If you intend to use it in proper racing, it will also need to be ACU (Auto Cycle Union, the governing body of UK motorcycle racing) approved as well, to a minimum of Silver standard for off-road racing (Gold is for road racing on sealed surfaces).

Another technology adopted by professional MX riders is the Mips slip-plane, a plastic layer between the inner and outer sections of the helmet that allows the helmet to rotate in relation to the head in a glancing impact. This helps to dissipate energy and reduce rotational brain injuries in riders.

Here is a selection of motocross and dirtbike helmets to keep you protected.

Price: £64.98

Not only is Wulf a well-recognised brand, but this helmet also gets good reviews online and is Amazon's Choice for 'Motocross helmet'. It uses a shell formed in TPR plastic with a removable interior to allow for washing.

The cheek pads can also be removed for washing and the peak is replaceable should it get damaged in use. Available in six sizes and in seven different colourways, it comes with a storage bag and is both ECE22.05 and ACU approved.

Approval: ECE 22.05, ACU

The Bell MX-9 Mips packs a huge number of features into a great-value price. It uses a polycarbonate shell with an adjustable peak and Bell's Velocity Flow ventilation system to keep the rider's head cool.

It also has the Mips system installed, designed to reduce rotational brain injuries in a fall. It comes in three shell sizes to make sure the fit is right every time and the anti-bacterial interior is removable for washing. It is fastened with a double D-ring strap and comes with a five-year warranty.

Approval: ECE 22.05

O'Neal is another brand with an enviable reputation in the off-road and motocross worlds, and with good reason. This helmet features a shell formed in ABS plastic and comes up relatively light - a quoted weight of 1450g for a Medium is certainly not heavy.

It also has a fully removable and washable liner and numerous ventilation access and exhaust ports including the large, mesh-covered chin vent. It has soft rubber edging around the nose port, fastens with a double D-ring strap and has an adjustable peak. It is both ECE and DOT approved.

Approval: ECE 22.05
Price: 69.99 (was £129.99)

If you want some retro styling to your off-road helmet, then this one from Dexter will do just that. It will conjure images of desert racers and riders from California in the 1960s and 70s - On Any Sunday style. However retro the resign though, the technology is thoroughly modern, with a fibreglass shell for strength and low weight - just 1250g.

The interior is both hypoallergenic and removeable for washing and features faux leather detailing to complete the retro look. It comes with a tinted peak and goggles with both tinted and clear lenses and has multiple vents for cooling.

Approval: ECE 22.05

I've used various bits of kit from budget manufacturer Viper in the past and have always been impressed by the quality and value for money, so there is no reason why this motocross helmet should be any different.

It uses a thermo-resin plastic shell with a removable and washable lining and a double D-ring strap for the correct fit every time. It’s not the lightest – 1500g quoted weight – but it has an adjustable peak and is approved for road use in the UK and Europe and is also ACU approved.

Approval: ECE 22.05, ACU

Another budget helmet, this example from LS2 is formed in the company's Kinetic Polymer Alloy (KPA), a form of thermo-resin plastic. The liner is formed from multi-density EPS with channels formed within to aid airflow throughout the helmet, from the front-mounted inlet vents to the rear exhaust ones.

The interior is removable for washing and it also features an emergency release system in case it needs to be removed quickly. It comes with a double D-ring fastening and an adjustable peak.

Approval: ECE 22.05

Fox is another brand with plenty of experience - and products - for the motocross and dirtbike worlds. This V1 helmet is formed with an injection-moulded ABS plastic shell which comes in six sizes to get a perfect fit. The multi-density EPS liner also comes in six sizes and it is fitted with the Mips rotational-energy reduction system.

The peak is attached by Fox’s magnetic system so it comes off easily in the event of a crash and the comfort liner is removable for washing. It has 11 intake and four exhaust vents for comfort and is both ECE and ACU approved.

Approval: ECE 22.05, ACU

This helmet from X-Lite is not cheap but that's hardly surprising - the shell is formed in super-light yet strong carbon fibre and the aggressive styling is designed for the motocross track. The shell is formed with the racing ventilation system with numerous vents to admit and remove air and it is also fitted with an emergency cheek pad release system for emergency teams.

The peak is adjustable and the lining and cheek pads are removable for washing. It is also ready for a drink system, with a side mounting and flexible section around the chin guard.

Approval: ECE 22.05, ACU

About the author: After qualifying as a mechanical engineer, Jim Blackstock began working on magazines in the early 1990s. He remains passionate about product testing to ensure readers know what products offer good value and why. He relishes torrential rain to see if riding kit keeps water out and an hour or two to tinker on a project bike in his workshop.

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